My son and I have been hunting coyotes again this winter.  Winter is when their fur is “prime” to borrow a term from the old west trappers.  It’s thick and beautiful that time of the year. That is how they stay warm after all.  I have an awesome coyote hat with its dead face on the front just above the bill, but a new one wouldn’t hurt my feelings.  My Dad wants a coyote skin to hang in his house in South Dakota, he traveled there to hunt them a few times when I was young.  Coyotes are an invasive species here, they were extremely rare  in these parts when I was a kid.  Now they’ve taken over, there are no more jackrabbits to be found and foxes are extremely rare.  The jackrabbits have been eaten by the coyotes, the jackrabbits were the primary source of food for the foxes but now they have to find other things to eat.  That’s easier for them when they don’t have to compete with coyotes.  I don’t like ’em, I make it a habit to shoot every one I see.  We tried all winter last year with dying rabbit calls and a coyote call that we’d bought.  Apparently when we blew those calls they still had a redneck accent, like somebody from NYC driving through West Virginia and being asked at the gas station, “Would’cha lak me ta check yer ool?”  The coyotes reacted the same way, WTF, I didn’t know my car had ool.  So we bought a fancy remote control call.  It’s got dying rabbits, coons fighting with coyotes, threatened coyote pups, and a few other useful calls.  We haven’t had any luck with the coyotes yet but last week we set up in my Dad’s blind and pushed the dying rabbit call.  Just as fast as we pushed it snow shook from the branches of the trees and there was a Great Horned Owl lookin’ for a meal.  I’ve never been ten feet away from one before, what a beautiful, majestic beast.  My son’s phone doesn’t do it justice but the grey misty look to the photo is the shitty weather rearing its ugly head.  Just when I hate the cold and the snow with a white hot fury something beautiful comes out of nowhere.  I wish you could have seen it breathing and looked into its eyes like I did.

It’s easy to get sucked into hatin’ life when its dark driving to work and dark driving home, it’s too damn cold to be outside for more than half a cigarette.  The dogs can’t go for a walk because the snow and the cold hurts their feet.  Walking with the dogs is one of our joys but its with-held from us six or seven months of the year.  Winter makes me feel just like Jerry Jeff Walker and I Feel Like Some Hank Williams Tonight.

I play classical music when it rains
Country when I am in pain
I won’t play Beethoven if the moods just not right
I feel like Hank Williams tonight.

A couple posts ago I really went off on a screed cursing those who betrayed their sworn oaths.  People who had sworn to protect and defend as I have just blew it off and betrayed our nation and the oath they swore.  Since my youngest memories I’ve struggled to live a life driven by principle.  I was taught those principles by my parents and my grandparents, even by our neighbors from time to time.  I talked in that rant about how John Wayne and his peers taught me right from wrong in ways that have burned through my mind for fifty-four fucking years.  Sheriff’s and their Deputy’s take the exact same oath that I did.  Seeing someone shit all over those principles jerks my chain like nothing else.  I am qualified to speak to the depravity of Scot Peterson, I’ve earned that right and anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss my ass.

By 2003 and the invasion of Iraq I had been in the US Army for fifteen years.  It was a peacetime Army in my younger days.  Like President Trump tried to tell the poor widow a while back, “he knew what he was risking.”  For fifteen years I wondered if I would be able to pass the ultimate test.  We used to talk about it amongst ourselves when it was quiet and dark, we were usually drunk but in vino veritas, we all feared we wouldn’t withstand the test.  That was the most horrific nightmare I had.  The test was when someone really shot at you, or especially, me.  What if I lost my mind, what if I pissed myself, huddled someplace seemingly safe and was unable to do my job?  What if I cried like a little bitch?  If I did that, my soldiers would have no leadership, they’d mimic my reaction and many of them would die.  I knew that, my peers knew that, but none of us knew how we would react when the shit really hit the fan.

I was on leave going back to Ft Bragg and The Division in early 2003.  I was in a honky tonk in northeast Tennessee when President Bush announced on TV that we were fixin’ to kick Saddam Hussein’s ass.  Saddam’s ass needed kickin’ in my opinion and I stood and clapped at the television along with every other redneck and biker in the place.  It was a heady atmosphere.  A few days later I signed in to The Division and asked the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment’s Sergeant Major if he had a job for me.  He remembered me from our days in the 325th Airborne, shook my hand and welcomed me to the Regiment.  A few days after that we were told we were deploying to Iraq, a few days after that we were landing in C17’s at Baghdad International Airport.  A few days after that I stood for my test alongside my Paratroopers.

We had always trained hard, sleep didn’t matter, you did what needed to be done until it was done.  Just like livin’ on the farm.  We shot our weapons every chance we got, we trained hard in every kind of shitty conditions we could find.  We trained till our training became “muscle memory.”  The first time we were shot at “muscle memory” kicked in and I did what I’d trained to do seemingly without conscious thought.  I stood and directed fire, shouted commands and swore like a muleskinner until we had, as the mission of The Infantry states: Closed With and Destroyed the Enemy.  I didn’t realize people were trying to kill me and how close I had come till it was over.  Then I had to sit down before I fell down.  I got the shakes and for a minute or two I didn’t know whether to shit or go blind but I had passed my test and so did my men.  I hope none of them noticed but at least they’ve never mentioned it.  They may have been having their own moments.  I couldn’t say.

Deputy Scot Peterson waited 33 fucking years for his test.  33 fucking years, he’s the same age as I am, 54, and after 33 fucking years he folded like a cheap suit.  I don’t care about training, right is right, “sua sponte” bitch.  I didn’t earn $75,000 a year while I was in a combat zone tax-free, but he did for nothing more than eatin’ donuts and hangin’ out at the school. How much money has he stolen from the taxpayers over the course of 33 fucking years.  The first time the taxpayers asked him to do his goddamned job he cowered where it was safe and cried like a pussy while better men (and children) died shielding children from bullets.  Now the taxpayer is paying to shield his sorry ass from the pissed off parents who might want to kill him.  I say drag him out into the street and string him up.  If he’s got enough balls to spur his own horse from beneath him like Jake Spoon I’ll raise my opinion, at least to the same I give Jake, but its not in him, he’ll just cry huge tears and beg.  People with no principles, no concerns other than themselves are capable of nothing more.  It’s damn unfortunate so many among the Law Enforcement Community are turning out to be such pieces of shit.

Deputy Peterson had 33 fucking years to get the training necessary to make “doing the right thing” muscle memory, instead he chose a stereotypical life of donut filled ease and carried his weapon because it was some sort of badge of badassedness.  I carried an M4 carbine because people kept trying to kill me and mine and I was prepared, capable of, and willing to defend them.  I carry an M1911 these days because I never unswore my oath.  I’ll defend the Constitution and my neighbors anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

You Deputy, are a sorry piece of shit and I’m qualified to make that judgement.

Lately I’ve been smelling something in the wind…

Do you think I take “From My Cold Dead Hands” any less seriously than the other oaths I’ve uttered?  That’s the curse of living by principles.


Retired Paratrooper, Biker, Tattoo Artist